Author Topic: Future of pak128  (Read 10934 times)

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Offline VS

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Future of pak128
« on: September 02, 2008, 11:16:26 AM »
I have decided to write down a bit about the situation as I see it (now).

Why shoud pak128 become “open”?

There are various good reasons.

To be honest, I probably lack the utter devotion needed to maintain 128 alone. Managing the set in Napik's grand style, doing practically everything, is out of question. I know how to use the Paint and possibly basic tasks in Gimp, but that's it; I'm not doing any graphics, at least not on a scale where it could make a difference. But that shouldn't be necessary. This leaves me with working on DAT and config files, translations, communication, convincing people to do things for the set, including them...

It doesn't seem like much. But having to cover all aspects of a project isn't really fun. It is a demanding and often unsatisfactory role. I hate to put it so bluntly but my free time is getting more and more scarce and I'm not content with slaving away on Simutrans every minute of it. I have been instinctively avoiding going into “full action mode” for quite a long time, but now I really have to. And I won't be able to do that for long time – at least not fully.

So, what now... Of course I planned for this. I believe the relicensing process is key to changes I am proposing.

I would like to allow more people to actually participate on small tasks like fixing single bugs, or adding new features on the level of config file switches and such. They will have to have access to the files – probably all of them, or vast majority – and this is where having some license information is needed. To put it simply, the game needs rules. So far it was all general consensus and ethics. And many of the graphics are actually donated as “for Simutrans only”. But if everything is made available, this status can't be upheld.

I am in process of contacting all known authors of objects in 128, asking for permission to reuse their make under these new conditions. This will take a while.

The parts of set that won't get permissions will be gradually removed from official releases. That's because the license is meant as a contract, protected by law. Using it for data without original owner's permission constitutes violation of law. We are not going to do that!

Instead, the license used allows “aggregation with other works (which implies under different license terms)”. This might be a way to keep some critical objects usable for a while before they are replaced. But it's not preferred solution.

Once the set is 100% clean, the old objects can become addons.

As you can see, the changes linked with license change will ultimately serve more goals:

  • Shift some of the work from maintainer to potential helpers from community. This has been already proven as feasible during this summer, when I was away for two months; Whoami, Frank and Wernieman made a lot of both small and bigger changes and fixes – huge thanks! I wasn't sure if it's possible, but now there are no doubts.
  • Allow the community (read: other people) to work on the pak as well, even if they don't belong to the "invited group"
  • Achieve through the license a better name and status in the Open Source / Free Software circles where new contributors are likely to come from. (Yes, there are people out there who won't touch software with a stick if it isn't Free with capital F. And some of them should be worth attracting.)
  • The general chaos will allow us to rid of old stuff without much additional impact ;)
  • Removing some of the restrictions on data usage means that in future, choosing people for maintaining the set will be based more on actual fitness for the position than just level of trust. (Yes, that is part of that. But not everything.)
  • If everything goes downhill and the pak collapses, parts of it will still stay reusable.

So that's the general outline. Thanks for reading.

My projects... Tools for messing with Simutrans graphics. Graphic archive - templates and some other stuff for painters. Development logs for most recent information on what is going on. And of course pak128!

Offline whoami

Re: Future of pak128
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2008, 05:47:02 PM »
You are right that this is very much work to handle it as a "one-man show" (as someone wrote about the projects within the ST community), you shouldn't sacrifice yourself.

I have only provided some small bugfixes yet, but will be happy to continue to work on Pak128. I don't know yet whether I will be able to actually contribute something worthwhile on the graphics side (beyond simple tasks like fixing pixel errors and alignment). Creating/updating/fixing dat files is something that I can do for sure. It's rather difficult for me to say: "give me a work package and a deadline, and it will happen", but I will try to help where it is needed.

Offline DirrrtyDirk

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Re: Future of pak128
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2008, 06:03:26 PM »
I also currently see my role in fixing/improving things that are already there, more than in making radical changes or  introducing flashy new stuff (although if I have finished something and think it might be useful, I'll gladly offer it - but I doubt I would simply add something on my own...
  
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Offline wernieman

Re: Future of pak128
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2008, 06:37:59 PM »
Im am no Grafiker too ...

So at the Moment I work on the nightlys ... but I don't know my place im projekt in the future ....

When I start with working on PAK128, I think of writing DAT-Files, but There was some people, who can better writing it at the Moment

P.S.
Bit I think is not the right Time to who do a pat in PAK128. I Think at the Moment it i better to ask, ho we wont to go with th PAK.

So at example: How we make the Industrie-Balane
Witch Parts are OLD, wih is good etc.
I hope you understand my English

Offline VS

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Re: Future of pak128
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2008, 06:48:03 PM »
Werner, I don't understand a word :( Try German, there are many people around that can help me understand.

My projects... Tools for messing with Simutrans graphics. Graphic archive - templates and some other stuff for painters. Development logs for most recent information on what is going on. And of course pak128!

Offline wernieman

Re: Future of pak128
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2008, 07:33:06 PM »
Sorry, at the moment I am a little tied

I answer tomorow
I hope you understand my English

Offline PatrickN

Re: Future of pak128
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2008, 07:38:04 PM »
Two questions: Do you need any buildings in my style?  If so, what kinds of buildings in my style do you need?

I ask because I've noticed a lot of buildings in a style that is very different from what it was 2 years ago.  Since the topic is "Future of pak128," I thought I'd see what the future is for my style. :)

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Offline VS

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Re: Future of pak128
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2008, 08:35:44 PM »
Uh, my mead hurts too.

First - for whoami, werner, and all who already have svn access: you do not have to do big things. Just doing things from time to time helps :)

Werner, you already helped a lot just by making svn available to us. It enables receiving help from other people really easily!

Patrick - I never really noticed, but "your style" has improved a lot since the beginning. Honestly... I think some of your early buildings, like the trailer homes (or that's what the label calls them) and other mostly lowest level buildings are in comparison with the rest outright ugly, but there are even more that shouldn't be lost. I am not really good with graphics, but how the differences look to me:
1) Textures - the more "noisy" ones are more natural, in the beginning you used somewhere even just one color
2) Consequently adding dirt smudges makes things look more real as well
3) Repetitive patterns without any break (eg. windows) are better than plain walls and roofs, but adding some diversity helps a lot even there
4) Empty spaces; some buildings have seemingly a huge pavement "perimeter" around them (extreme example)
5) The scale has somewhat shifted to smaller. Or at least it looks that way. One thing is for certain, in comparison your buildings look funny because they have huge windows. If that was corrected, who knows...
6) Color choice; some houses are just a bit wild.
I'd say the cut might be somewhere around 30% with wildest estimations. But that's still far future.

My projects... Tools for messing with Simutrans graphics. Graphic archive - templates and some other stuff for painters. Development logs for most recent information on what is going on. And of course pak128!

Offline PatrickN

Re: Future of pak128
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2008, 03:06:45 AM »
One thing is for certain, in comparison your buildings look funny because they have huge windows. If that was corrected, who knows...
The scale issue is because the people who came in started making up their own scales instead of using the official scale, which made the difference between building scale and vehicle scale even more unbalanced.  18 pixles per floor should have been the standard, but it shrunk to about 12, and even 6 in a few cases. haha

But I don't want to look to the past as we build our future.  What are the current pixle:meter ratios for buildings?  I'll make some hillbilly trailer parks like the city folk around here ain't never seen! :)

Also, I've learned some basic 3D modeling working on projects for YS Flight (a free flight sim), and I might be able to route them into something that can be processed into 8-views.

Patrick is desperate to be useful again.

Painter, in and out of retirement.

Offline wernieman

Re: Future of pak128
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2008, 07:18:59 AM »
Next Day, next try ....

I think at first it is important that we speak about a concept of the PAK.

I don´t see a "roter Faden" in the PAK (Sorry, "roter Faden" in english???)

If we have a concept, it is simpler to cut the problem of the in parts. So it is the first what we must to speak about!

I hope you understand?
I hope you understand my English

Offline wipi35

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Re: Future of pak128
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2008, 08:50:39 AM »
I don´t see a "roter Faden" in the PAK (Sorry, "roter Faden" in english???)

Red thread. Simple, isn't it.  ::)

Offline jbode

Re: Future of pak128
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2008, 09:54:06 AM »
I think at first it is important that we speak about a concept of the PAK.
I don't see a "roter Faden" in the PAK (Sorry, "roter Faden" in english???)

see leo.org

roter Faden = leitmotif, central theme

funny enough the English speakers use a German word to translate a German word!


Jörg

Offline VS

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Re: Future of pak128
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2008, 11:29:08 AM »
I think at first it is important that we speak about a concept of the PAK.
Oh, that. Right now, for the next few releases:
  • make sure finance is balanced (prices, maintenance, running costs)
  • fix known bugs
(And make a release... soon)

My projects... Tools for messing with Simutrans graphics. Graphic archive - templates and some other stuff for painters. Development logs for most recent information on what is going on. And of course pak128!

Offline wernieman

Re: Future of pak128
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2008, 11:52:49 AM »
But ... how should the finance balaced?

and the Output/Input of the Factories? etc.

If there are definiton about the grafik?

Sorry, but i miss a "definition paper", so everybody can see, if he canmake a part for the PAK ore not. Then a team can pack this parts to a PAK-Sets with little chages ....



I hope you understand my English

Offline vilvoh

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Re: Future of pak128
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2008, 12:07:53 PM »
I think there was a whitepaper and a style guide somewhere in the old forum

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Offline VS

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Re: Future of pak128
« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2008, 06:37:50 PM »
Are you asking how to do it, or what is the goal?

Goal: I think there are too many people who play 128 because it looks more detailed than 64. So, although it is sad, the "main" 128 has to be playable even for those... eh, not so clever :) Thus I think it should be challenging, but not so much that these people quit playing Simutrans altogether. At least in the default starting year, vehicles should be profitable.

I must confess I haven't really played Simutrans for at least one year, much less tried other paksets, so right now I have no idea what is the right level.

How to do it... probably by some calculations ;) This is one of the areas where I wish Napik came back at least for a moment, because he had this fully automated with Excel. But I can't understand what is what :( So if someone wants to read all the formulas and figure out what is input and what output... As to some of the balancing principles, well there is a legacy document on that, too.

I'll attach them both after dinner.

My projects... Tools for messing with Simutrans graphics. Graphic archive - templates and some other stuff for painters. Development logs for most recent information on what is going on. And of course pak128!

Irie.Lachgummi

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Re: Future of pak128
« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2008, 06:39:12 PM »
I think we have to discuss about a lot of things. First i would like to reunion the german and the british 128er project to a european one.  Dont let us be divided to each country a pak. My suggestion is to have a fix number of attraction and two special industrie lines of each country in the european pak. There must be a choose modul which things someone uses in his game and a common add-on side.

Offline kierongreen

Re: Future of pak128
« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2008, 06:51:58 PM »
Quote
Dont let us be divided to each country a pak.
Speaking regards the British pak - the graphics in this are not compatible with the main pak128 (in terms of scale and appearance - they will work together but it won't look 'right'). The attraction of using a country specific pak is that it can be more engaging for the player as they find it more familiar than a generic one.
I'm not saying the main pak128 is a bad thing - it is fun to play (and more importantly far more complete than pakBritain) but seems slightly less real.

Offline DirrrtyDirk

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Re: Future of pak128
« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2008, 07:13:20 PM »
@VS:

I have spent quite some time with Napik's Excel sheets - still can't say I understood it all.  :( It is higly complicated, and actually some things don't even work (references to wrong or empty cells, etc.)

But with the new speed bonus system (based on a file, not on existing vehicles, things should become easier.

---

@Irie.Lachgummi:

What Kieron said about pak.britain is true for the planned pak128.german, too (or for pak128.japan) - completely different scale and style than standard pak128. And it's got nothing to do with country vs country. They are all completely different, fully independent pak-sets. All they have in common is that they share the 128x128 pixel graphic format. I think it is quite good to have people doing their own paksets - and if these happen to have a country-specific theme, so be it.  8)
  
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Offline VS

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Re: Future of pak128
« Reply #19 on: September 03, 2008, 07:17:08 PM »
Ehm, the point of having more paksets than one is that if one lacks in some aspect, perhaps some other can fill the gap and attract some players. Or just offer a different in-game environment. Merging them all into one by force is contradictory to this principle. You can have have Nike, Puma, Adidas sportswear... what reason on Earth could you find to forcedly merge them all into one brand? (Reminds me of how communist governments nationalized private enterprises.) So, no, thanks. That is not a good idea.



By the way,
There must be a choose modul (...)
this sounds like an extension request, which is traditionally not good to start with "must".



Attached the documents.
http://vs.simutrans.com/misc_files/Pak128%20Economy%20(text).zip
http://vs.simutrans.com/misc_files/simutrans_economy%20(excel).zip

My projects... Tools for messing with Simutrans graphics. Graphic archive - templates and some other stuff for painters. Development logs for most recent information on what is going on. And of course pak128!

Offline wernieman

Re: Future of pak128
« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2008, 10:52:16 AM »
Did somebody have the whitepaper and/ore the style guide?

I Think it would be a good Idea, to put them in the SVN .. Ore a new SVN-Direktory

At the Moment we discuss about the Balancing .... but we must discuss about the existing Objekts too.

Are they already ore it is better to make a little "cleaning"?
I hope you understand my English

Offline vilvoh

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Re: Future of pak128
« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2008, 11:14:19 AM »
Did somebody have the whitepaper and/ore the style guide?
I think the style guide (also called 128pak blueprint, if I'm not wrong) was at the 128pak private zone of the old forum (128pak lounge, I guess). If I remember correctly, It was a long post from Napik.

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Offline PatrickN

Re: Future of pak128
« Reply #22 on: September 10, 2008, 02:42:02 AM »
I have been playing pak128 for the last few days.  The one thing that needs to be fixed most (in my opinion the most damaging problem to game play) is the incompatibility with the speed bonus.  The problem is worst in ships and airplanes.  If you need to move passengers in the 1980s, for example, you find yourself having to use the smallest ship (the hovercraft) because it is the only one that is above the bonus speed.  The problem is even worse in airplanes because the most affordable plane is half the speed of the most expensive plane, and the average plane by speed costs nearly the same as the most expensive plane.

I would like to modify the dat files of ships and planes to offer a proposal for changing the situation without messing with prices and intro dates, but I don't know where to get the source files since graphics.simutrans.com doesn't work now.

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Offline whoami

Re: Future of pak128
« Reply #23 on: September 10, 2008, 07:06:25 AM »
The one thing that needs to be fixed most (in my opinion the most damaging problem to game play) is the incompatibility with the speed bonus.
Which version of Pak128 do you use? The file speedbonus.tab (which you can also adjust, or remove entirely) has been changed recently.

Offline PatrickN

Re: Future of pak128
« Reply #24 on: September 10, 2008, 09:59:49 PM »
I'm using the current version from that link.

My concern is that in 1989 the bonus speed with the bonus set a 0, the speed is 40kph, but most of the ships have a max speed under 30kph.  The newest passenger liners are much slower than the hovercraft, so the hovercraft is the only option.

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Offline DirrrtyDirk

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Re: Future of pak128
« Reply #25 on: September 10, 2008, 10:51:39 PM »
Ok, one more thing for the balancing - which needs to be done anyway.

But until then maybe one could change the speedbonus file again...?
  
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